USPS Increases Maximum Size for First Class Postcard
Starting August 29, 2021 postcards up to 6 x 9 will qualify for first class postcard rates when included in a presorted mailing. Prior to this change 6 x 9 postcards could either mail as standard rate (USPS marketing mail) or first class letter. A major significance to this change is the first class postcard rate provides a 28% discount on postage as compared to a first class letter. Since the piece would be mailing first class, expected delivery standards through the USPS will match all other first class mail.
Upgrading to first class postcard rates increases the speed to market, which can be a substantial win for marketers.
- Technology continues to be a driver in the marketing space and that is no different with direct marketing. Programs that include retargeting, where you are able to connect IP addresses of website visitors to physical mailing addresses getting pieces into homes quickly is a huge benefit. In this scenario, when a website visitor comes to your website and their information is connected with an address you can execute a strategy in supplementing their website visit with a postcard within days of their visit. Being in home quickly can provide a boost to conversion on high ticket items where consumers may research or comparison shop.
- There are many consumers focused businesses that include a “New Mover” program as part of their marketing strategy. Moving to first class mail for those currently using standard rate can have a speed to market advantage over those who remain with standard rate.
Moving up to a 6 x 9 will more than double the available “real estate” for messaging. See inset for the increase in size on the non-address side of the piece. Previously with a 4.25 x 6, after leaving ample room for the address, there was very little usable space on the address side of the card. Using a 6 x 9 will allow for an area 5.25” x 6 to be used for content, creative, or call to action. In contrast, with a 4.25 x 6 card after allowing for the address, the usable space is 2.25” x 4.25.
This change will allow mailers to rethink their use of postcards and sizes. For example, currently, if you are mailing 8.5 x 5.5 or 6 x 9 postcards at standard rate you may be able to mail at first class postcard rate
for a comparable cost. A worse-case scenario would be an increase of $0.054 CPP in postage. The exact difference depends on how your mail qualifies within presort categories and potential entry discounts associated with standard rate mail. While there may be an increase in the postage cost there is also an enhancement in service level associated with delivery, meaning your piece will reach the recipient quicker.
Maximizing the trade-offs between the size and postage requires consideration of strategy of a particular program. Not all programs will benefit the same. While this change is significant, decisions to change size or postage class should not be made in isolation. Other factors of strategy and production costs should be reviewed.
Changes like this do not happen often with the USPS. This is an example of the USPS listening to the mailing community and understanding the balance between efficiency of internal processing and the desire for additional “real estate” on postcards. This should allow mailers more flexibility in their creative while gaining speed to market with their messaging.
About Salem One
Salem One is one of the fastest growing print based communications companies in the U.S. and recognized as an award winning innovations leader in national direct mail marketing by the USPS.
About the Author
Jon Bowman is Director of Business Development – Direct Marketing at Salem One. He is an active leader in the Postal Customer Council, locally and the PCC Advisory Committee for Communications and Marketing Sub-Committee, nationally.
To contact Jon, please email firstname.lastname@example.org